Installation of Win95/98 System Policy Editor (POLEDIT)

by Johannes Helmig [Published on 12 July 1998 / Last Updated on 12 July 1998]

While WindowsNT enforces permissions (you need to have a proper user-right to be able to perform certain activities), Windows95 and Windows98 still operate using the old DOS-PC rules: "The user is knows, what he is doing, and is allowed to do whatever he like to do on his system".

That can cause in a professional environment some problems, when multiple persons work on the same system. To implement some (maybe a lot) restrictions, Windows 95/98 includes a utility called:
"System Policy Editor" (POLEDIT), which allows to edit easily the Windows Registry to define such limitations (example: Enforcing Network Login or No File and Printer Sharing):

POLEDIT is NOT included in the options of the Windows Setup program, so select the button "Have Disk.."

Browse your Windows95 CD-ROM: admin\apptools\poledit

If you have a Windows95 version on floppy disks, then POLEDIT is NOT included, but you can download it from and then follow the link to "Windows95 Shareware and Utilities"

Browse your CD-ROM: tools\reskit\netadmin\poledit.

Accept the path to the directory, from where the s/w will be installed (in this example:Win95)

Select the option: "System Policy Editor"

You can access the "System Policy Editor" now via the Start-Menu under: "Accessories / System Tools / System Policy Editor":

The "System Policy Editor" makes modifications to your Windows Registry! And if you are not careful, you can destroy your Registry, corrupting your Windows installation! And once your Registry is corrupted, don't ask me for my help, I can give you only ONE advice: "Re-install Windows ! "

Therefore, BEFORE making modifications to your Registry (i.e. before using POLEDIT), make a BACKUP copy of your Registry (there are multiple methods to do that, I usually follow this procedure):

Restart your system in MS-DOS-Mode (calling up a DOS-Box is NOT sufficient for this job!)

DOS-command: Explanation:
DIR *.DAT /ah this should list your registry files "SYSTEM.DAT" and
"USER.DAT" (if you have user-profiles activates,
there will be multiple USER-files)
Make the registry files accessible
MD REGBACK make a directory to store the files
make a backup copy of your registry files
WIN restart the Windows GUI

In case you have problems and need to restore your old Registry:
Operation: Explanation:
restart your system

wait for the message:
"Starting Windows95", then press the F8-key

During booting, hold down the "Shift"-key
(or is it the "Ctrl"-key ?)
get to the Windows Boot menu
Select the boot-option: "Command Prompt only" The system should then NOT start up the
Windows GUI, but just DOS-7, getting
the old DOS-prompt : "C:>"
ATTRIB -r -s -h *.DAT make the registry accessible
COPY REGBACK copy back the original Registry
Files (allow to overwrite)
Reboot your system again

See Also

The Author — Johannes Helmig

Dr.Johannes Helmig is working as Director, Technical Knowledge Management in the Belgium office of Gerber Technology where he is involved in Customer Service and internal training, with special interest in Networking.


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